Mandurah’s fairy terns will soon have new sanctuary near marina


The fairy terns will have a new home at Mandurah Marina. Picture: Cherilyn Corker
The fairy terns will have a new home at Mandurah Marina. Picture: Cherilyn Corker

MANDURAH’S fairy terns will soon move into a new site on Breakwater Parade at Mandurah Ocean Marina.

The City of Mandurah has approved the use of a portion of a reserve at Breakwater Parade in an attempt to provide a more suitable nesting location and prevent land use conflicts.

The coastal bird species has been in significant decline due to a loss of sustainable breeding habitat, mainly as a result of coastal development.

Colonies that appear in development sites to breed can hold up building projects and most recently, a small colony returned to Mandurah, nesting on a vacant lot on Breakwater Parade and causing a postponement in building activity.

Colonies breed in the same general locations over the years and ecologist Nic Dunlop advised the council the fairy terns would return this October scouting around for nesting sites.

But he said the vacant lots usually used would soon be developed and unavailable.

The return of nesting terns to Mandurah last year created significant interest in the community, particularly when two birds were identified as being 20 years old, the oldest fairy terns on record.

The site was temporarily fenced with signage but the colony was subjected to frequent disturbance from pedestrians, dogs off leashes, litter and noise.

The council, in partnership with the WA Conservation Council, successfully applied for funding for the sanctuary and the WA Planning Commission offered $20,000.

Eight submissions from residents supported the proposal and also suggested higher fences, a new path to the beach to prevent informal access and damage to the fencing, eradication of feral cats and ‘No Access During the Breeding Season’ signs.

The sanctuary is also supported by Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, the Departments of Biodiversity, Parks and Attractions, the Fairy Tern Conservation Committee, Bird Life WA and the local Noongar community.

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